Thursday, December 29, 2016

October: The Month of Field Trips

As we began this school year, I knew one thing I wanted to do more of was field trips this year.  Well, this month we have done some field trips!  In fact, that's mostly what we've done.  I would say we are going to slow down now and stay in our "classroom" more; however, as I type this post, we just finished math, reading and our CC memory work in the van headed to Disney World!  Ahh, the freedom of homeschooling!  Maybe come winter we'll stay in the classroom-maybe.

Our first field trip was actually the last week of September.  After celebrating Johnny Appleseed's birthday, we visited Steele Apple Orchard in Cullman.  We went with some from our Classical Conversations community.  Taz's favorite part was the tractor on the porch before the tour even started.

We had a tour which included four stations:  the history of Johnny Appleseed; bees and pollination; different types of apples and taste testing; and then picking, washing and packing of apples. 
Apple Types and Taste Testing Station

Showing an apple picking bag and describing the picking,washing and grading process

 Of course, we didn't come home without candy apples and a bushel of apples.  The kids enjoyed the candy apples that afternoon and then we made some fried apple pies the next week.  Yum!

We took advantage of the beautiful leaves starting to change and spent the day at Mount Cheaha State Park.  It's the highest point in Alabama and has some breathtaking views. 

We were able to go on a couple short hikes (1-2 miles).  The leaves were just starting to change but the weather was awesome!  This was one of the very few cool weekends we had in October.  We were able to talk about seasons, weather and colors with the littles and the difference between coniferous and deciduous trees with "Miss Priss".  I love how just being outside and exploring brings up all sorts of questions.  I'm also thankful my better half as a science degree and is much better at answering these questions than I am :)

After hiking we were able to purchase a small bag of gems from the camp store and do some mining.  This was the girls' favorite part!   They loved finding all the "jewels".  We were able to sort and identify several of them, including some gold - fools' gold, that is!

Our next field trips was the week of Columbus Day.  After reading Christopher Columbus by Minna Lacey and doing several Christopher Columbus writing activities, we had the opportunity to see replicas of the Nina and the Pinta by the Columbus Foundation. The Nina was the most historically accurate Columbus replica ever built and it was so cool to see it in person!

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